Norwich City had faced the harsh realities of Premier League early on the season, after an encouraging start. Not many things have gone their way, starting from injuries, ranging to difficult schedule and possibly some unlucky bounces on the way. Be as it may, Norwich has only won twice in ten Premier League games this season and drawn once – that spells trouble and fairly certain relegation.
The squad that won the Championship last season remained much unchanged, both in good and bad. While the performance was in many cases stunning last season, the competitiveness and quality of the Premier League seems to be too much for most of the Norwich players, who shone in Championship. Some blame, or criticism, can be directed at Norwich boss Daniel Farke, who has not been able to balance his playing style to accommodate the current comparative quality of his squad. Namely, the defense has been left exposed as Norwich is trying to play attacking football, create chances and keep possession – a feat impossible against so much stronger teams.
Weekend’s effort against Manchester United showed perfectly well the problems Farke and Norwich are facing. Despite somewhat struggling on their own, Manchester United’s squad is full of at least good Premier League players – if not many start-caliber individuals. Norwich was constantly put under pressure by United’s aggressive pressing, which caused a hefty amount of missed passes and turnovers, which especially the fast paced wingers of Manchester United exploited. The Norwich defense was in trouble also inside their own area, causing two clear penalties, which then Tim Krul brilliantly saved. United took 0-2 lead in the first half despite the saved penalties and in reality the numbers could’ve been a lot worse for Farke’s team.
Norwich adjusted a bit for the second half as Manchester United pulled back and gave the hosts more space to create, but a brilliant defensive effort by United kept Norwich at bay. Anthony Martial finished off the Norwich struggle by scoring 0-3 on 73rd minute and Onel Hernandez first goal of the season for Norwich was too little too late on 88th minute.
While winning against United would’ve been a tall task, Norwich will have to find ways to compete against the lesser teams in the Premier League. Drawing 0-0 against Bournemouth was a good start and those are the realistic results Farke and his squad have to be aiming at in order to stay up – and it might still not be enough. Next up are games against Brighton and Watford, both fighting for survival at the bottom half.
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Premier League to be relegated – Norwich City: 1.66